Charges filed after police bust cockfighting ring in South Phoenix neighborhood

PHOENIX (FOX 10) - Police say a cockfighting ring with more than 150 animals has been busted in South Phoenix near 27th Ave and Pima Street. According to police, there are several suspects currently in custody.

At approximately 8:15 a.m. on March 24, Phoenix Police responded to a call regarding a fight. During the investigation, police determined there may have been illegal cockfighting going on. When officers arrived, they attempted to speak to a few of the individuals who were present, but several fled the scene. The officers then contained the area.

Police say 27 individuals were inside the building, all of which are being detained and interviewed. The owner of the property has also been contacted. One person, identified on Monday as 50-year-old Robin Arreaga, has been charged with 70 counts of felony cockfighting. People watching the fights could face misdemeanor charges. Meanwhile, FOX 10 has learned that 70 roosters, in addition to more than 40 hens, 31 chicks, a duck, 11 ducklings, five rabbits, two dogs, and one guinea hen have been seized.

Rosa Herrera who lives nearby says her friend was a spectator, who was one of 27 detained.

"This is totally wrong, what was going on," Herrera said.

Lt. Mark Tovar with the Phoenix Police Department says a thorough investigation will be performed.

"It's not a very sanitary environment back there for the residents who live out there," said Mark Tovar with the Phoenix Police Department. "And then again, [it's] a very cruel and inhumane thing to do to the animals that are participating as well."

Investigators say they found a pit on the premises with a majority of the roosters in cardboard boxes or travel cases.

This one looks like an operation that has been ongoing for a while," said Tracey Miller with the Arizona Humane Society. "And, like I said, very sophisticated and very intricate."

Phoenix Police say the Arizona Humane Society is helping them with the investigation. The Humane Society rescued dogs, bunnies, and ducklings. Two of the rosters were found in bad shape.

"One was actually transported to the Humane Society and had to be humanely put to sleep, due to injuries," Miller said.

In all, 168 animals seized from the property are now being cared for at the Arizona Humane Society.

Herrera says her friend has no ties to the ring, but she's glad this happened.

"I'm hoping this is a lesson learned for him," she said.